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Defamation scenarios

We have outlined some common defamation scenarios that clients approach us with.

Please use these as a guide only. For further information with the specifics of your case please contact us directly.

I’ve discovered that an ex-partner has been spreading gossip in the local community about me. I am a teacher at the local primary school and have a good relationship with the school children, their parents and my colleagues. I have also lived in the area all my life, and I’m worried about how the gossip will affect my reputation within the community. The gossip is completely untrue and the comments are really hurtful. What can I do?

Depending on the nature of the comments, this could also be an example of defamation. It might be classed as slander, as the comments have been made verbally as opposed to in written form (see glossary of terms). Before acting hastily and taking legal action, it may be a good idea to calmly speak to your ex-partner and ask him/her to refrain from making such comments, or perhaps write him/her a letter. If he/she refuses then you may want to consider taking legal action.

You may wish to bring a claim for defamation in order to try and obtain an injunction to prevent your ex partner from making any further defamatory comments and/or to claim for damages to compensate you for any hurt or embarrassment caused as well as for damage to your reputation.

 

I’ve discovered that somebody has been ‘blogging’ about me on a social networking website and there is absolutely no truth in the comments that have been made. What can I do?

The first course of action is to contact the person who has made the comments and explain to them that you are unhappy with the comments, that they are untruthful and request to have the comments removed from the website. If this proves unsuccessful, you might want to contact the owner of the social networking site and ask him/her to remove the comments. If this is neither successful, then you may want to consider taking further action, as the comments may amount to libel, which is a form of defamation.

A successful claim for defamation could enable you to obtain an injunction to remove the comments from the website and prevent any further defamatory comments being published. It is also possible to bring a claim for damages to compensate you for any hurt or embarrassment caused and any damage caused to your reputation.

I own my own business selling mobile phones and have built excellent business relationships within the North West region with my suppliers and customers. However, it has recently come to light that my business is being criticised for its poor after sales service by a very disgruntled customer. His criticisms are exaggerated and distorted. I am anxious that if people read his comments and start to believe what he is saying then my business will suffer. What can I do?

This is an example of a possible defamation case, depending on the nature of the disgruntled customer’s comments and the circumstances surrounding these comments. There are two forms of defamation, libel and slander (see glossary of terms). If the comments have been expressed verbally, this may amount to slander. If they are in written form, then this may be a case of libel.

You may wish the take action for defamation to enable you to try and obtain an injunction to prevent the customer from making any further defamatory comments and remove any permanent form of the comments, and possibly damages to compensate you for any damage caused to the business’ reputation and any financial loss incurred as a result.

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